It's been a little hectic the last couple of weeks with the holidays approaching. I've been busy making new things for shows, designing some custom pieces with my new CAD skills, and plus my day job has been a little cray cray. I'm trying to keep it all together and just get through these last few weeks and then it's VACATION.
Here's a few snapshots of what's been going on:
Like last holiday, I will be participating in the Chicago Winter Renegade Show. Please come say hi if you're in town!
Once that's over with, I will be taking a much needed mini hiatus. I'll try and stop in before the year's end and do a Renegade recap as usual. But if y'all don't hear from me, I hope everyone has a magical holiday and remembers all the great things we all have accomplished this year.
I put up my Xmas tree already :) Can you tell I'm ready for holiday vacation??
P.S. I do stay pretty active on instagram so if you're ever dying for some Tytin Jewelry updates, follow me there!
Oh hey! It's October isn't it?? The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. I haven't even had a chance to take in the fact that it's fall or eat pumpkin pie or go to an apple orchard! It's sad to say but my day job has been taking the better of me. BUT I can't let that last for long. Holiday season is upon us and I'll be participating in Renegade's winter show again which I did last year. Thank goodness for these shows. They keep me motivated and working on my own jewelry in the midst of work chaos. For this holiday season, I'm trying to focus on simpler pieces that will make a nice addition to my current collection. So to help with that, I've been beading...a lot.
It's also been a great meditative thing to do with my hands while I calm down from the day's silly work chaos. I'll keep you posted on my progress. You can't see in the photos but I've racked up quite a collection of various beads and I want (NEED) to make something out of all of them! You ever find you're spending more money on storing these things than actually selling them?? I think I have a collecting problem.
Hope everyone has a lovely weekend! Mr.T and I are spending all day Saturday at a local family farm dinner tour. CANNOT WAIT.
If you've been around a while, you would know I spend my days working for a custom jewelry manufacturing company in downtown Chicago. For the last 2 years, I worked as a project coordinator helping small jewelry stores around the country develop custom pieces. I would guide them and their design through the jewelry manufacturing process from sketches to final pieces. Not only did I have to make sure it came out correctly, I had to make sure it came out on time. Surprisingly people can get extremely antsy about jewelry and apparently lots of people get married on a Wednesday??
In any case, I've learned a lot about the entire process of jewelry manufacturing and I genuinely enjoy it. However, the pressure from that position started to wear away at me. Customers can be a lot to handle! I was also ready for a new challenge. I was tired of knowing just an overview of the process. I wanted to learn more about the specifics. Well in the last month, I got what I wanted. I jumped on an opportunity to move into our CAM department and learn about the entire process of rapid prototyping.
In a nutshell, CAD design files are arranged onto a 'grow plate' using a computer program. Each brand of machine has their own program to work with. Once you layout the designs onto the plate, you upload that file to the appropriate machine. Then the machine starts to build/grow the designs layer by layer. Above you can see the plate has pieces hanging upside down on it. This plate lowers down into a liquid material where each layer is built onto itself. Once finished, you remove the plate, turn it around and ta daaaa! Prototypes! This is only how one type of machine grows/builds the models. Others have a slightly different process but the general idea is the same: building onto itself layer by layer. Below is a different machine hence the different color.
It's amazing what these machines can do! And the details they can create are so impressive. Once these prototypes are cleaned up, they are then used in the lost wax casting process, and from there onto finishing. Fascinating isn't it?? (nerding out).
On top of learning about the CAM process, I've also been continuing to practice my CAD design skills. Above is the CAD I created and below is the final piece. Oooo...ahhhh...isn't jewelry making cool??
Some days I really hate having a day job, but I have to say, I do appreciate being able to expand my knowledge. Thank you, day job, for being cool some of the time!
Last week I exhibited at Chicago's Summer Renegade Craft Fair as you may know. It's my second time participating in Renegade but my first time doing its summer show let alone an outdoor show. Outdoor shows are definitely different than indoor ones that's for sure!
First thing's first, you need a lot more gear for set up: tent, tent walls, tent weights, rugs to cover the street, outdoor signs, renting a car...so much more! Of course, not everything is obligatory but definitely helps in creating a nice 'shopping experience'.
Another thing I've learned, selling rings on a hot, HOT day...not the best idea. Selling bronze rings on a hot humid day, also not so great. Lesson number 1, be up front with your customers about the natural qualities of your materials. Silver and especially bronze develop a natural patina when exposed to oxygen a.k.a. silver turns black and bronze turns dark brown. Bronze will also sometimes turn your skin green. I forget some people don't know that but after one girl returned her ring that same day, I made sure to remind everyone following her.
A few other things I learned: use a white tent so more light can get in (I had a blue one). If you have a mirror available make it more apparent. When customers know they can try something on, it increases their willingness to buy. And lastly, maybe for these types of events, I'll stock more necklaces and bracelets since they're an easier fit than rings.
All in all, summer Renegade was a fantastic experience! I really couldn't have done it without Mr. T's help and motivational support. Thanks to Renegade for organizing it and organizing it well. If you're ever thinking of doing Renegade or something like it, DO IT. There's nothing better than watching all your hard work be put into action.